Friday, May 08, 2009

Girlfriends Cyber Circuit Presents Lucienne Diver

Last night my quest in ballet was to hold my arms correctly, something I usually fail to do and which takes great effort and thought. That left my upper arms achy in such a way that it feels like someone is grabbing me. And that meant lots of freaky nightmares about being grabbed -- made even freakier by waking up and still feeling like I was being grabbed, so that there was a brief moment of panic before I verified that I simply had sore muscles.

Meanwhile, now that I've rewritten parts of the first two chapters to make them more interesting, I've realized that these changes more or less negate almost everything else I already had written, so that it will actually be easier to just scrap it all and start from scratch. And that means I'm really, really far behind because not only has progress been slower than planned while I've tinkered with getting the opening right, but my progress goals were based on starting from having five chapters already written. Needless to say, it looks like I'll be working this weekend.

But on a much more fun note, I've got another Girlfriends Cyber Circuit Guest, and this one is a real treat because the author has been one of those people I hang out with at writing conferences and conventions for ages and ages. And I still like her even though she rejected me under her agent role (though we share an agent when she's in author mode). My guest is Lucienne Diver, author of Vamped, and although I am so not into vampires, I've thought this book sounded like a hoot from the moment I heard about it, so I may have to make an exception.

From “Valley Vamp Rules for Surviving Your Senior Prom” by VAMPED heroine Gina Covello:

Rule #1:
Do not get so loaded at the after prom party that you accidentally-on-purpose end up in the broom closet with the surprise hottie of the evening, say the class chess champ who’s somewhere lost his bottle-cap lenses and undergone an extreme makeover, especially if that makeover has anything to do with becoming one of the undead.

Gina Covello has a problem. Waking up a dead is just the beginning. There's very little she can't put up with for the sake of eternal youth and beauty. Blood-sucking and pointy stick phobias seem a small price to pay. But she draws the line when local vampire vixen Mellisande gets designs on her hot new boyfriend with his prophecied powers and hatches a plot to turn all of Gina’s fellow students into an undead army to be used to overthrow the vampire council.

Hey, if anyone's going to create an undead entourage, it should be Gina! Now she must unselfishly save her classmates from fashion disaster and her own fanged fate.

Now, the interview:
Was there any particular inspiration behind this story?
My heroine, Gina, just started talking in my head one day. I’m not sure how it happened, especially when I realized that she was essentially the big-haired girl with the reputation who tormented my sister in high school. So I tormented her right back. What’s true horror for a fashionista? Lack of reflection, no way to fix your hair and make-up, eternity without tanning options! At first I was just going to give Gina a short story to get her out of my head – let her claw her own way out of the grave, face her fears and turn her stylist…or die (again) trying. Then Gina got her claws into me. My readers liked her. “This wants to be a novel,” they said. And, well, they were right. So, Gina had to grow and change into someone I could live with for two hundred plus pages. She’s still a fashionista determined not to go through eternity a total schlub, but underneath it all is a heart she’s been hiding for her own protection, and it’s slowly revealed over the course of the story.

How much -- if anything -- do you have in common with your heroine?
I like clothes. I’ve object to being seen as a total schlub. I sort of had the Mafia princess look cooking for me in high school. [Note, see totally embarrassing picture I’ve attached.] However, I was a geek girl. I played D&D, got caught reading library books in class, had to date outside my high school . Actually, the character I have the most in common with in the novel is the blond book girl Gina pumps for information.

(You know, I think we have the makings for a new horror film: It Came from the 80s! I have plenty of my own material to contribute.)

Why do you think vampires are so popular in young adult fiction right now?
And adult fiction as well! I think it’s because vampires are sexy. They’re the ultimate bad boys (or girls). You want to piss off your parents? Try bringing home a bloodsucker!

(Hmm, maybe that explains why I never got the appeal of vampires. I never wanted to piss off my parents.)

Vampires vs. Zombies: Who wins? And who wins homecoming queen?
Vampires, hands down! Zombies…bah! They’re decomposing as we speak. So easy to rip off an arm or a leg and beat them with it…I’m just saying! Not that I’ve fought off a zombie invasion above once or twice in my life, but I think that’s a fair sampling. As for homecoming queen, Gina‘s got that in the bag!

What are you working on now?
I’m working on a middle-grade boy-book that’s been talking at me since a trip to NYC last fall. I was deep in the midst of REVAMPED (VAMPED sequel which will be out in 2010) at the time, and so I had to wait until just recently to start. I’m having a lot of fun with it because I get to bring in some archaeology and history. Plus the protagonist is only a little older than my son, so I get to use him as a litmus test for the voice!

Is there anything else you'd like to say about this book and the process of writing it?
Just that I really hope people enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. VAMPED was a trip, and Gina is probably my favorite character I’ve ever written. Every time I came to a difficult scene to write, like an action scene, I felt as if the character actually kicked me out of the way with a, “Would you let me handle this?” And she did. In some ways it was a hard book to write because I had to wrestle it back from Gina, who, if you can’t tell by now, is one tough cookie. In others, it was the easiest thing I’ve ever written because all I had to do was get out of my own way and let my protagonist take point.

For more info (and to see a more current, less frightening author photo), check out Lucienne's web site or order the book from Amazon.

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